2013-04-17 Geneva Rec36 Workshop Minutes
UN/CEFACT Workshop on Recommendation 36 Single Window Interoperability
Minutes of the workshop April the 17th, 2013-04-18
The workshop was opened by Johan Ponten
The initial agenda was slightly modified to take into account last minute organizational arrangements due to remote interventions.
The APEC progress report was cancelled.
The final agenda was adopted:
9-18 Project on Single Window Interoperability
1. Roll call of participants [9 am 9.30 am]
2. Review of Part One of the proposed Recommendation 36 [9.30 am - 11 am]
a. Adoption of the final plan
b. Adoption of the chapters considered as having Final status ready for public review (in particular the Recommendation itself and the Benefits)
c. Allocation of tasks for writing other chapters
3. Presentation of progress reports by Regional Single Window (RSW) initiatives [11 am - 1 pm]
a. Africa by IbrahimaDiagne GAINDE 2000
b. Korea by Young Mi Kim of Korean customs
c. ASW (Japanese survey) by Mitsuru Ishigaki of JASPRO
Lunch break [1 pm - 2 pm]
4. Data models Data simplification the Ecuador case by Jina Choi
5. Brain storming on guidelines [3pm - 5 pm]
a. Lessons learned from RSW or NSW
b. Single Window Implementation Framework ITAID European project by Markus Pikart
c. Expectations from practical and useful guidelines by Saadia Sanchez (SELA)
6. Legal aspects by Michael Coffee
7. Wrap up and plan of work from April till September [5pm - 6pm]
The presentations have been transmitted to the UNCEFACT secretariat for publication.
A set of documents sent before the workshop has been published on the URL: https://letscrate.com/c/78ye
Additional documents will be published and used for e-Collaboration activities during the coming month.
These documents will be proposed for publication and the team of experts will validate the publication.
Minutes of the meeting
1. Roll call of attendees
38 attendees from different parts of the world attended the meeting. The attendance list has been transmitted to the secretariat. Part of the meeting has been attended from Venezuela by a team of SELA experts.
2. Review of Part One of the proposed Recommendation 36
The chair introduced the overall objectives of the project and shared his views in this respect. The chair pointed out that many efforts are underway, including projects currently studied by the forum which assume that cross border exchanges are developing that involve customs and other government agencies (OGA), transporters, and sectors. The success of such projects depends upon the interoperability of Single Window systems, including public and private partners. One of the main prerequisites for success in this field in his view is that there should be mutual trust between the countries concerned in any interoperability project.
The editor observed that simplistic treatment of the Single Window interoperability should be avoided. An earlier project in the United Kingdom to exchange exportation data to allow easier importation in the partner country failed due to differences in data elements required for these purposes (if only 40% of data can be reused, there is very little reduction of administrative burden in the end as the 60 % of data will still need to be provided on the importation side). Moreover trade volumes should also be taken into account when considering the usefulness of interoperability efforts. Small volumes do not justify the investments necessary both on the government and on the business side.
The review of Part One of the Recommendation was then addressed:
a. The final plan of part one has been adopted without modifications
b. The chapters of Part One have been adopted with some modifications. These are reflected in version 4 of Recommendation 36. In particular, the Recommendation itself, chapter 7, has been amended to take into account the importance of the financial and governance issues "The inventory should also list all financial and governance models available to ensure interoperability is resourced, funded and sustainable".
c. The presentation of chapter 8 Benefits of Single Window interoperability has been modified but still needs to be validated by the group. The finalisation of Part One will be done before the coming forum, at the latest.
3. Regional window progress report
a. Regional Single Window in Africa
Ibrahim Diagne, speaking on behalf of the Pan-African Alliance for e-Commerce, presented the present situation of the RSW which associates several African countries and incorporates different languages. Within the Pan-African Alliance, five National Single Windows are operating with various stages of development, five are under construction, two are considered for development.
The retained definition of Single Window (SW) in Africa has been adopted by the Pan-African Alliance for e-Commerce: "The Single Window for trade is a national or regional system mainly built on a computer platform initiated by government or an ad hoc entity to allows parties involved in trade and transport to lodge standardized information and documents with a single entry point to fulfill all import, export, and transit-related regulatory requirements".
The presentation was discussed.
An African SW conference will be held in September 2013.
b. Single Window in Korea and participation of Korea to multilateral or bilateral SW interoperability
Korea has established a SW system - UNIPASS - which collects all exchanges of data involving customs or other government agencies. UNIPASS has independently defined its connectivity requirements which are different from the PAA set of specifications. Three other SW systems exist, the main one being KT Net, which is also a member of the Pan Asian Alliance for e-Commerce. These three SW systems are used for B2B cross border exchanges but exchanges with Customs and other government agencies are sent via UNIPASS. Korean traders can access UNIPASS directly.
c. ASEAN Single Window ASW
The RSW system built under the auspices of the ASW project was presented by Mitsuru Ishigaki of JASPRO. His report demonstrated that NSW systems having different organisational set-up, as is indicated possible in Recommendation 33, can however coexist in a RSW system. JASPRO's comparative study has been validated by the ASW team as correctly representing the situation. It was not possible to have a presentation by the ASW team themselves due to their being preoccupied with the imminent launch of the ASW system.
Two important observations were made:
1) National Single Window systems can participate in different regional alliances. This is the case of TradeXchange (Singapore) for example.
2) ASW has elaborated a RSW application which is used to maintain the interoperability between NSW systems. It has been estimated that such an application was indispensible in order to preserve interoperability from the threat of frequent changes to NSW (actors, roles, business process id etc.. The time was not sufficient to examine the characteristics of this application.
4. Contribution of Data Models to SW interoperability
It has been noted that the World Customs Organisation's Data Model is becoming widely adopted. It accepts the two syntaxes EDIFACT and XML.
The use of Recommendation 34 proves to be effective as explained by Jina Choi in the context of the establishment of the standardised data set in Ecuador. 21 agencies have been considered, 600 documents, and 400 schemas produced. While the WCO Data Model has been used, limitations in its scope were observed, namely that it mainly pertains to Customs and OGA.
5. Presentation of the SELA RSW
Saadia Sanchez provided a presentation of the SELA initiative from Caracas remotely. The RSW initiative has been recently revived and placed under the authority of an ambassador. The presentation was transmitted to the UNCEFACT secretariat. The main idea governing the NSW developments is to guide them via a regional methodology - such a role could be played by the Recommendation 36 once completed. At the present time, SELA has developed a Single Window Interoperability Framework (SWIF) elaborated with funding support from the EU. SELA experts are interested in the development of Recommendation 36 and contact will be maintained to take into account all demands arising from the SELA project and addressed to the Recommendation 36 team. These demands will help identifying relevant topics to interoperability.
6. Single Window Implementation Framework
This and related work to which UNECE has contributed was presented by Markus Pikart. These documents addressing different facets of SW are published on the e-Collaboration site of the Recommendation 36 team and their value will be considered as inputs for the Recommendation 36 (Guidelines).
7. Brain Storming
The discussion was limited due to lack of time. It was observed that in the APEC region, Single Window interoperability is considered "Business as usual". The different RSW alliances are more or less interfaced in this region. Progress is made on a continuous basis, often with very precise themes being addressed.
The Questionnaire that was proposed following the last meeting in Vienna will be revised to face the demand of some trading partners such as FIATA. The present version does not address the concerns of some categories of users. In addition to this the new version will be exploited to bring the results of the consultation which will be an incentive at the time of the collection of the answers.
A team has been formed to decide upon the new version of the Questionnaire
8. UNECE and Single Window interoperability
Mr Tom Butterly intervened to expose his views concerning the future of the work concerning Recommendation 36. In light of the recent IMO meeting, and also considering the fact that Single Window is a term which is being used with different meanings and scope, such as the EU e-Maritime program or e-Freight of IATA, he advanced the idea to organize an official three days meeting which will help considering thoroughly the different problems which should be studied to assist in establishing a real policy to progress towards a global although nuanced approach of SW interoperability.
The Recommendation 36 team will work in the future as it is proposed by the draft document structuring the production of any UNECE Recommendation, even if this document is not yet finalised.
e-Collaboration, already used, will be continued and better structured.
Specific items of work will be defined by a core team of experts, such as the Questionnaire, Trading partner identification, review of existing legal agreements (and their comparison).
Regular Conference calls will be decided and documents will be distributed in advance using the Confluence site and/or any other publication facility.
The existing Regional Single Window initiatives will be closely associated to the workshop. The same attitude will be adopted concerning Single Window initiatives with a limited scope (sector based).
Note : All the documents published before the April Recommendation workshop can be accessed on a dedicated site.The presentations made during the workshop have been added at the same URL address.